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Raf Diallo
Raf Diallo

21.08 9 Sep 2019


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At one time, Garry Ringrose appeared to be a certain starter heading into the Rugby World Cup.

But the expectation now is that Bundee Aki and Robbie Henshaw will form the starting centre partnership for the key games.

The Irish Independent's Ruaidhri O'Connor discussed that situation with Joe Molloy.

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"I wouldn't think his form has been great," Ruaidhri reasoned.

"I think the Six Nations maybe did him a bit of damage. Look, Garry Ringrose, excellent player as he is, the collision stuff probably counted against him.

More formidable physical unit

"Henshaw and Aki is a just a more formidable physical unit as a pair. They know each other really well from Connacht. Aki was terrible in Twickenham but he's bounced back and in a really good way.

"He's one of those players that I'm thinking of that really seems to have taken... someone really lit a rocket under him and suddenly, physically he even looks trim. They all look leaner and they all seem to have done whatever work they've done. They look in incredible nick."

Ruaidhri also mentioned Ringrose decision-making in the Champions Cup final.

"I think Ringrose, if you go back to the Champions Cup final, the decision not to pass that ball - I know it's a micro-moment - and he's spoken about it. 'If I had it back, I would always give that pass,'" he said.

"But that was a chance for Leinster to put distance against Saracens. They're the moments that in a World Cup quarter-final, you'll look back on.

"Garry missed a lot of tackles. Even though he's a very good defender, he does tend to have quite high tackle miss stats. Robbie, I think, is probably a more effective tackler. I'm not sure he's a more intelligent defender in the 13 channel."

Ruaidhri also cited Henshaw's World Cup experience from 2015 as another key asset.

You can also watch the full discussion below via YouTube.

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